Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Arline Thorn


The purpose of the current work is to extrapolate an understanding of the trickster figure as it is used in the literary works of Leslie Marmon Silko, a contemporary Laguna Pueblo author. Trickster analysis in Native American literature is primarily relegated to the study of traditional myths and stories, and only a few scholars approach the topic in contemporary Native American literature. Of those who do, none have chosen Silko’s works as the primary focus of their analysis. An examination of this type will contribute to and expand the existing literary criticism of Silko’s writings. Leslie Silko utilizes the traditional trickster figure of Native American myths by transferring him into the settings of the modern world with only minor changes to his typical set of characteristics. The most important element of Silko’s tricksters is the humor they elicit, which is so often misread by modern Western readers. Trickster tales are not moralistic, but contain a layer of comedy that serves as a relief and a support mechanism. The primary focus here is to explore the variety of trickster manifestations in Silko's poems and stories and extract the core elements of the trickster archetype as Silko uses them in her unique style.


Silko, Leslie Marmon – 1948- -- Criticism and interpretation.

Tricksters in literature.

Coyote – (Mythological character) – Legends.

Indians of North America – Folklore.